Bug Killing Season

Amelia Blair-Smith
Courtesy Thomas Brown

October

I set out to write about lantern flies but 
like so many things they won’t be an issue
much longer until they spring up from the 
ground next july like perennials there’s 
nothing to be done about the lantern fly

when it comes inside your house and lands 
atop your lunch you may swat it off crush it 
with your book squeeze its body between a 
paper towel until the wings stop fluttering but 
a billion black and white on crimson little

creatures stomped to death on the streets 
of new york will never be enough they are 
here to stay. Crushing lantern flies is good 
for morale their corpses raise awareness
to the problem at least for the little time left 
before their bright bodies get buried by

fallen leaves. It’s alright to kill a lantern 
fly helpful even but hours later when 
you think you’re safe a little red flame 
leaps impossibly from your kitchen trash 
can landing back onto your counter what 
didn’t kill him may not have made him 
stronger but he is back all the same.

December

I thought the lantern flies were it 
They weren’t. I started running
a humidifier at night I hoped to keep 
my nose my lips attached to my face

And now we have spiders
What would it feel like if my notebookmark was
made of mab silk I played with spiders as
a child I played cat’s cradle I wove one thousand feet of yarn 
with just my fingers the synthetic wool burned deliciously

I caught the spider between my fingers, released her so
she would know what it is to build something anchored to a child 
I didn’t think about how she already birthed three thousand I thought
I was her one and only I didn’t mind
the bites on my legs I must taste so sweet nothing
like having your blood sucked by an artist they always
do more with it in their bellies
than you could with it in your veins

She loves the dark; it makes me lonely
only because I can’t see all my friends
crouching in the corners making dinner on
the windowsill basking in the blue humidifier glow. 
It doesn’t give me comfort. When the sun comes up 
I know you will scream and beg and threat for me 
to kill them dead.

So I’ll squish each spider between kirkland 
signature paper towels and not look afterwards.

Contributor(s)

Amelia Blair-Smith

Amelia Blair-Smith is an MA candidate at Columbia University. A domestic violence shelter resident at eigh- teen years old, Amelia’s political organizing for unhoused youth has been featured in Teen Vogue, Vox, and The Nation.

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